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Republic of the Congo / Rwanda: ICRC repatriates two unaccompanied children

26-09-2003 News Release 03/115

On 24 September, the ICRC repatriated two unaccompanied Rwandan children who had fled the fighting in their country several years earlier and had taken refuge in the Republic of the Congo. They were reunited with their families by the ICRC delegation in Kigali the same day.

After having lost touch with their parents for all that time, the children finally received news of them via Red Cross messages sent from Rwanda. These messages are part of the ICRC's efforts to reunite families torn apart by war and ensure respect for the universal right to preservation of the family unit.

One of the two children had been living in the town of Ouesso, in the Sangha region, and the other in Brazzaville. Both were taken by ICRC delegates across the Congo river on 23 September and immediately placed in the care of the ICRC delegation in Kinshasa, which put them on a flight to Goma the next day. An ICRC vehicle then took them onward to Kigali.

Before the end of the year, the ICRC delegation in Brazzaville plans to repatriate more unaccompanied Rwandan children who have been located in Loukolela and Brazzaville. Three of them will be taken home on 7 October. The ICRC covers all the expenses of tracing unaccompanied children under 18 who have been separated from their relatives on account of war, repatriating them and reuniting them with their families.

 Further information: Olivier Bangerter, ICRC Brazzaville, tel.: ++242 50 30 17 or ++242 50 30 18